Addendum to EMS Instructional Guidelines: MUCC - Model Uniform Core Criteria for Mass Casualty Incident Triage
-- EMR Education Standard --
Knowledge of operational roles and responsibilities to ensure safe patient, public, and personnel safety.
This instructional guideline addendum covering the Model Uniform Core Criteria for Mass Casualty Incident Triage (MUCC) is intended for all levels of EMS providers, as outlined in this paper.
This addendum covers mass casualty incident (MCI) triage and is not to be confused with individual trauma field triage as outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention .
-- Material to be Taught to Students --
I. Mass casualty incident triage is, "the process of prioritizing multiple victims when resources are not sufficient to treat everyone immediately 1 2."
II. How it differs from everyday triage, including guidelines for the field triage of injured patients
III. The triage system utilized in your learners' jurisdiction(s) is __________________, and should emphasize
IV. While there exist multiple systems for mass casualty triage there is one national guideline, the Model Uniform Core Criteria for Mass Casualty Incident Triage (MUCC) which can be used to measure the essential elements within various MCI triage systems.
V. "MUCC is a group of 24 criteria that has been recommended as essential elements of a MCI triage system. Having a standard for triage systems increases interoperability between MCI triage systems and provides guidelines for the revision of existing MCI triage systems1."
VI. MUCC Compliant Triage systems
MUCC is not a mass casualty triage system
Adapting existing triage systems to MUCC
Connecting your prior triage training to MUCC
-- Additional Background Information for Instructors --
The MUCC criteria are provided here as background knowledge for instructors. MUCC was created to address the issues inherent in mass casualty incidents that cross jurisdictional lines, where responders may be using different triage systems. As Lerner, et al., 2011 write, “for operational simplicity, communication interoperability, and clinical efficiency, it is preferable for all of the responders at a given incident to use the same triage system, or at the very least operate from some common elements1."
History of MUCC
SALT Triage (see Appendix A of National Implementation of the Model Uniform Core Criteria for Mass Casualty Incident Triage FICEMS Report)3
Levels of evidence supporting MUCC: Science, Indirect Science and Consensus
II. MUCC Categories
1.1 Triage systems and all of their components must apply to all ages and populations of patients.
1.2 Triage systems must be applicable across the broad range of mass casualty incidents in which there is a single location with multiple patients.
1.3 Triage systems must be simple, easy to remember, and amenable to quick memory aids.
1.4 Triage systems must be rapid to apply and practical for use in an austere environment.
1.5 Triage systems are resource dependent, and the system must allow for dynamic triage decisions based on changes in available resources and patient conditions.
1.6 The triage system must require that the assigned triage category for each patient be visibly identifiable (e.g.,triage tags, tarps, markers).
1.7 Triage is dynamic and reflects patient condition and available resources at the time of assessment. Assessments must be repeated whenever possible and categories adjusted to reflect changes.
2.1 Simple commands must be used initially to prioritize patients for individual assessment.
2.2 The first priority for individual assessment is to identify those who are likely to need a lifesaving intervention.They can be identified as those who are unable to follow commands and do not make purposeful movements,or those who have an obvious threat to life (e.g., life-threatening external hemorrhage).
2.3 The second priority for individual assessment is to identify those who are unable to follow the command to ambulate to an assigned place but are able to follow other commands (e.g., wave) or make purposeful movement.
2.4 The last priority for individual assessment is to identify those who follow commands by ambulating to an assigned place (or make purposeful movements) and have no obvious life-threatening conditions (e.g., life-threatening external hemorrhage).
2.5 All patients must be assessed individually regardless of their initial prioritization during global sorting. This includesthe assessment of walking patients as soon as resources are available.
3.1 Lifesaving interventions are considered for each patient and provided as necessary, before assigning a triage category. Patients must be assigned a triage category according to their condition after any lifesaving interventions.
3.2 Lifesaving interventions are performed only if the equipment is readily available, the intervention is within the provider's scope of practice, the intervention can be performed quickly (ie, in less than 1min), and the intervention does not require the provider to stay with the patient.
3.3 Lifesaving interventions include the following: controlling life-threatening external hemorrhage, opening the airway using basic maneuvers (for an apneic child, consider 2 rescue breaths), performing chest decompression, and providing autoinjector antidotes.
4.1 Each patientmust be assigned to 1 of 5 triage categories (immediate, delayed, minimal, expectant, dead). Each category must be represented with an associated color: immediate/red, delayed/yellow,minimal/green, expectant/gray, dead/black.
4.2 Assessment must not require counting or timing vital signs and instead use yes-or-no criteria. Diagnostic equipment must not be used for initial assessment.
4.3 Capillary refill must not be used as a sole indicator of peripheral perfusion.
4.4 Patients who are not breathing after 1 attempt to open their airway (in children, 2 rescue breaths may also be given) must be classified as dead and visually identified as such.
4.5 Patients are categorized as immediate if they are unable to follow commands or make purposeful movements, OR they do not have a peripheral pulse, OR they are in obvious respiratory distress, OR they have a life-threatening external hemorrhage; provided their injuries are likely to be survivable givenavailable resources.
4.6 Patients are categorized as expectant if they are unable to follow commands or make purposeful movements OR they do not have a peripheral pulse, OR they are in obvious respiratory distress, OR they have a life-threatening external hemorrhage, AND they are unlikely to survive given the available resources. These patients should receive resuscitation or comfort care when sufficient resources are available.
4.7 Patients are categorized as delayed if they are able to follow commands or make purposeful movements, AND they have peripheral pulse, AND they are not in respiratory distress, AND they do not have a life-threatening external hemorrhage, AND they have injuries that are not considered minor.
4.8 Patients are categorized as minimal if they are able to follow commands or make purposeful movements, AND they have peripheral pulse, AND they are not in respiratory distress, AND they do not have a life-threatening external hemorrhage, AND their injuries are considered minor.
4.9 Patients categorized as immediate are the first priority for treatment and/or transport, followed by patients categorized as delayed and minimal. Patients categorized as expectant should be provided with treatment and/or transport as resources allow. Efficient use of transport assets may include mixing categories of patients and using alternate forms of transport.
III. Additional Implications for Learners
Use of MUCC-compliant triage systems supporting interoperability in a multi jurisdictional response
Triage tags/labeling mechanism
Lerner, E. et.al. Mass Casualty Triage: An Evaluation of the Science and Refinement of a National Guideline. Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness.2011;5:129-137, doi: 10.1001/dmp.2011.39.
Model Uniform Core Criteria for Mass Casualty Triage. Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness.2011;5:125-128, doi: 10.1001/dmp.2011.41.
National Implementation of the Model Uniform Core Criteria for Mass Casualty Incident Triage. A Report of the FICEMS . July 8, 2013.